FORT WORTH — For the first time since 1958-59, TCU has beaten Texas in consecutive football seasons.
Don’t ask Gary Patterson for details. He wasn’t around the last time it happened.
“I was not born yet,” the TCU coach said. “I just want you to understand. I was born in ’60. That’s old enough, even though I don’t feel old.”
Here’s something that does feel old: Texas losing. And not only losing, but not being competitive. Saturday’s 50-7 defeat to the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs was even more embarrassing than the 48-10 beatdown TCU administered last Thanksgiving in Austin.
Afterward, Patterson and his players were careful to not criticize the Longhorns, though it’s clear that TCU, which as recently as 2011 was playing in the Mountain West, has lapped the state’s flagship football program. The line for those who can claim the same is growing with each one of these clunkers of the Charlie Strong era, which slipped to 7-11 after 18 games.
At 1-4 (0-2 in the Big 12), Texas can lose no more than two games the rest of the way and still make a bowl game. And the Horns will be decided underdogs in several of them, including this week’s Red River Showdown against Oklahoma.
“They’ve got a good team and a good coaching staff,” TCU safety Nick Orr said. “Everyone has off years. Off games. I feel like if they keep doing what they’re doing and stay focused, they’ll get back on track.”
Orr, the son of former Longhorns star Terry Orr, grew up at a time when the thought of TCU dropping half-a-hundred on Texas would have elicited bellyaching. The sophomore from DeSoto had a tackle for loss and recovered a fumble, as the TCU defense was energized by the return of two starters and rebounded from shaky efforts against Texas Tech and SMU.
Patterson believes Texas’ biggest problem was at right tackle, where Kent Perkins’ knee injury has spelled trouble. Perkins stayed at home, leaving Elijah Rodriguez and Tristan Nickelson to spell ineffective starter Marcus Hutchins. Texas often used a tight end in the backfield for extra protection, but Jerrod Heard was still sacked three times and hurried throughout.
“They didn’t run a lot of their offense throwing the ball because I think they were worried about protection,” Patterson said.
As a result, quarterback Heard was a lost cause in his first road start. Heard, who TCU tried to sign after Mack Brown was fired, didn’t finish the game and accounted for a measly 71 total yards. One-time TCU pledge Daje Johnson was knocked out of the game with a head injury on the opening drive, ridding the Longhorns of their most established offensive threat.
“They’re good coaches,” Patterson said. “They’ll figure out what they need to do to get (Heard) free.”
Now, compare Heard’s and Johnson’s days to those of TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson.
Boykin threw for five touchdowns, and his third topped Andy Dalton’s record for the most in school history. Boykin is now at 73. He notched his 10th 300-yard passing effort, completing 20 of 35 passes for 332 yards. Doctson had two touchdown catches for the third game in a row and broke Josh Boyce’s TCU career record with 23.
“Last year, they were probably one of the best defenses we played all year,” Boykin said of Texas. “This year coming in, they were doing the same things. We knew they were gonna move around a lot.”